Review: The Emoji Movie

Updated on November 9, 2017
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Joseph Lawrence (25) grew up in the New York area and is a recent college grad in Film Studies. He is a huge film buff and loves horror!

You know those emojis on your phone? Wouldn't it be great if they had their own world where they have families and jobs like everyone else? The Emoji Movie is a computer-animated comedy written and directed by Tony Leondis. The voice talent behind the emojis include T.J. Miller (the "meh" emoji), James Corden (the "hand" emoji), Anna Faris (the "jailbreak" emoji) and Maya Rudolph (the "smiling" emoji).

The Emoji Movie's greatest fault is the lack of focus in its narrative. The title should tell you everything the movie is about. However, the movie chooses to focus not on the emojis but apps. The beginning is fine as you see the different types of emojis, their personalities, and their world. After that, there's an immediate shift to the world of the iPhone. We see Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, and Just Dance. Somehow the movie did a better job at portraying these apps than the emojis themselves.

Jailbreak (jailbreak emoji), Gene (meh emoji), and Hi-5 (hand emoji)
Jailbreak (jailbreak emoji), Gene (meh emoji), and Hi-5 (hand emoji)

Thankfully, the voices behind some of the emojis are brimming with personality. Maya's performance as Smiler really sells such the happy emoji as the villain. James Corden's performance as the hand emoji is fun and humorous. And Miller's performance as Gene makes such a mundane emoji stand out and pop. The silver lining for all the movie's shortcomings are definitely the performances.

Jailbreak, Gene, and Hi-5 dancing in the "Just Dance" app.
Jailbreak, Gene, and Hi-5 dancing in the "Just Dance" app.


Ultimately, The Emoji Movie fails in executing a simple premise. Not enough time is spent explaining why the emojis are the way they are or how they interact within their world. Too much time is spent exploring the various apps on the phone. Also, the movie's jokes fall flat many times and it's hard to say what the audience for the movie was supposed to be. Overall, those not expecting much but a laugh here and there will enjoy it. But surely there are better animated comedies out there.

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